In a Vase on Monday – Hidden Scent and Plants for Bees

The glorious and uplifting sunshine we enjoyed last week is due to give way to heavy rain, my family were away for part of the weekend, which in turn gave me some free time to experiment with vases before my Autumn flowers get the promised drenching.


Hidden Scent

Firstly I had the sitting room carpet to clean, Raspberries dropped on the kitchen floor by my eldest, rushing to make a snack for her journey became stuck to the feet of our dog. I think they all worry I have not got enough to keep me busy! My new vase was bought at one of the local Methodist Church fundraisers, who are in desperate need of a new roof. The vase is far more elegant than I’m used too, after several attempts I finally settled on simple white and green. And plonked the hotter colours of Rudbeckias, Persicaria and the Sweet Peas we are still picking in jugs.

Eleagnus ebbingei vanilla scented flowers

Eleagnus ebbingei vanilla scented flowers

I started with Eleagnus ebbingei as I love the fragrance. The tiny flowers are powerfully scented, its heady vanilla aroma fills the air. The flowers are hidden from view and formed in the leaf axils. About 10 years ago it survived a widespread scale infestation and last summer a good half of this very mature 4 metre tall shrub died back – I thought we were going to lose it all, the dead wood was cut out and its sprung back with lots of fresh growth and has just started to flower again. The shrub is weeping profusely for the first time this year, possibly in response to the hard pruning.

Weeping resin

Weeping Eleagnus ebbingei

I’ve added in a couple of sprigs of Hesperis matronalis – short lived perennials sown this spring and one plant has already thrown up a few flowers rather than wait till next year, they have a beautiful fragrance which reminds me of cloves and I’ve read they make good cut blooms.

Hesperis matronilis

Hesperis matronilis

Added also is Gaura lindheimeri, I grew these from seed last year and this summer have been rewarded with an absolute abundance of flowers, although perennial they are not long lived. I had worried Bees were not visiting this plant and after reassurance from Amelia of A French Garden have now noticed Honey bees visiting the fresh stamens.

Gaura lindheimeri

Gaura lindheimeri

The Cosmos also grown from seed this spring objected to the cold wet weather and was heading for the compost bin but has perked up in last weeks sunshine,although the new flowers are much smaller. The Cosmos, Hesperis and Eleagnus ebbigei flowers are all much loved by Bees and now I know the Gaura is too, but I have not noticed any insect activity on the Alchemilla mollis which I found having a last hurrah and is providing the green froth.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in my Garden for hosting this meme, which I rarely have time to join in with but always enjoy seeing what everyone else is up to.

In a Vase on Monday – Scented Birthday and Get Well Wishes

My youngest daughter came home from uni last week, to celebrate her 22nd birthday, having graduated she’s stayed on to take a Masters. All of this is incredible to me, firstly I am sure I’m only 35 and secondly when I was 22 the university of life was my place of choice rather than a disciplined place of much higher learning. To say we are proud of her maturity and dedication is an understatement.

Recycled glass vase

Scented Hyacinths and Sarcoccoca

In November, I had purchased from Lidl several flimsy pots, each filled with one white Hyacinth bulb, no more information than that on the label. The intention to place and group into terracotta pots and bring them indoors late in January to fill the house with scent ready for the birthday festivities. Everything went to plan until the last week, I brought them from cool dark to bright windowsill too quickly and they bolted, the stems reached 20cms long and heads of 15cms gave me 35cms of toppling Hyacinth, I propped with chopsticks and then decided to cut them and fill vases together with Sarcococca hookeriana. Its a simple arrangement but smells wonderful. This Vase was given to me many years ago by my husband and I filled it with glass marbles and placed a glass jar inside as the neck of the vase is too wide to support the Hyacinth and Sarcococca stems.


Recycled glass vase and scented white Hyacinths with Sarcoccoca

We always have a family lunch for birthdays, this year my father-in-law in his 81st year and wanting to get the most out of the NHS fell on an icy path and broke his femur a week before Lottie’s birthday, so celebrations were in two halves, lunch at home and then an en-masse hospital visit. Lottie’s film of birthday celebrations this year mean we can share everything he missed including the board games and especially the singing game Humm, they gave to us this Christmas.

Southwold - Our eldest daughter Josie sharing a joke with my inlaws.

Family holiday to Southwold – our eldest daughter Josie sharing a joke with my inlaws.

These wishes are for Lottie and Gordon, who is doing well and continuing to make the nurses laugh, and also for Ronnie at Hurtled to 60 and beyond who sang the praise of family board games a couple of weeks ago.

Please take a look at Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden blog for more accomplished Vases. Thanks Cathy as always for hosting your lovely meme.

In a Vase on Monday – Bespoke and Recycled

In a Vase on Monday, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in my Garden has given me a lot of pleasure, both in the odd few times I have participated, but mostly in reading about everyones else’s creations.


Christmas Cycle Wreath

My husband is a very keen cyclist and until recently cycled daily through London on his route to work and in the past has taken on some epics including Lands End to John o’Groats, Calais to the South of France and any routes with lots of hills, his favourites are the gruelling uphill climbs. The wheel rim above was damaged on one of his trips and we thought it would be fun to recycle for this festive season.

In November I posted On the Wild side vase to place outside, Rubus tricolor, Iris sibirica seed heads and Ivy berries remained and birds have slowly picked at some of the fruits but some were still intact.

We dismantled the original vase and collected some more Hawthorn berries, added woodland foliage and Honesty seed heads and spent a happy Sunday afternoon, wiring everything up and attaching it to the wheel. I asked my husband when we were nearly done, had he enjoyed himself, ‘I’m a bit bored now to be honest’ he replied.

Festive Wheel Wreath

Festive Wheel Wreath enroute to the Front Door

We did put the wreath up in the dark on the front door, its glass so a complicated arrangement involving fishing wire and several pairs of hands. This morning when I looked it was on a jaunty angle, but this year I absolutely promise not to ask for it to be readjusted again.

Please take a look at everyone else’s creative arrangements at Cathy’s Rambling in the garden, its fun.

In a Vase on Monday – On the Wild Side

On a Monday Cathy from Rambling in my Garden hosts the addictive ‘In a Vase on Monday’, a meme to encourage her readers to bring a little of the outside inside and fill a vase or container with something lovely. Inspired by the beautiful Autumn hedgerows, that we walk past everyday on our daily dog walk, I have ‘borrowed’ some Hips and Haws to help fill the ginger jar given to me by my Mum some years ago.

On the Wild Side

On the Wild Side

One of my favourite dog walks takes us up out of our village, past the last of the houses and along the lanes and footpaths that skirt the Greensand Ridge, if time permits we head off towards the woods, if not we return past the old church and then loop back again through the village towards home, all along our route the Hedgerows have been ablaze with colour and the Hawthorns spectacular this year, dripping with fruits.

Hawthorn Berries

Hedgerows of Colour

Archie our Labradoodle without the doodle, is a kind and patient dog who loves to walk, he keeps a look out when I am foraging in hedgerows.



From the hedgerows I collected some Haws (Hawthorn berries), native Dog Rose Hips, English Ivy with seed heads, before heading home and from my garden wildflower Achillea millefolium stems, good old Iris Sibirica seed heads and one of my favourite autumn leaves Rubus tricolour (chinese bramble).


In close up

I picked from the Hedgerows on Saturday morning and am hoping the Hips and Haws will survive inside for a few days as I want to return this bouquet to the birds and plan to put it on our patio table later in the week. Inside the Ginger Jar I have put a large Yoghurt bucket with handle so it can be lifted out and hopefully the birds will still get to enjoy the fruits and the empty Ginger Jar will go back on its shelf.

Heading outside for the birds

Heading outside for the birds

Enjoy your Monday and please take a look at Cathys In a Vase On Monday post for links to the wonderful creative folk who contribute to Cathys meme.

In a Vase on Monday – Fragrant Green Manure

In a Vase on Monday - scented green manure

In a Vase on Monday – Fragrant Wild marjoram, Phacelia tanacetifolia and Rosa Goldfinch

Just like black gold, green manure in the form of Phacelia tanacetifolia is invaluable in my garden. I can happily watch beneficial insects bring my garden to life enjoying the scented, generous Phacelia blooms whenever the opportunity arises. Bees are the main customer, Ladybirds, Lacewings and Hoverflies are also attracted.

In my vase today I have used Goldfinch roses as the mild weather has encouraged a few extra blooms, a little bashed by rain but the fragrance is still beautiful. I have added some Wild marjoram seed heads too, although I have them stored for drying to save the seed, they are also still faintly scented. Wild marjoram is another excellent plant for beneficial insects especially Butterflies and Bees. Its very pretty in borders and lovely in salads too!

Phacelia tanacetifolia and Rosa Goldfinch

Phacelia tanacetifolia and Rosa Goldfinch

Phacelia tanacetifolia is one of my favourite plants, I grow it in my vegetable garden as a green manure in the autumn and in borders throughout the spring and summer as its so beautiful – ferny, feathery foliage and lavender blue flowers, brought to life by the insects it attracts. Seed is incredibly easy to collect and save for resowing.

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Phacelia tanacetifolia in action

I am joining in again with Cathy’s weekly meme at Rambling in your Garden to collect plants from your garden and share in a vase, this is such a rewarding project and great fun to be involved with and my grateful thanks to Cathy for hosting, please take a look at other blogs from all over the world sharing their lovely plants and vases.

In a vase on Monday – A Taste of Autumn

I am joining in for the second time with Cathy’s weekly vase challenge and I am loving looking at my garden from a different perspective.

Helianthus, Iris Sibirica and Ruby Chard

Helianthus, Iris Sibirica and Ruby Chard

We had spent last week walking a small part of the South West Coast Path, in glorious sunshine, arriving back this weekend to a change in the weather a 10 celsius drop, heavy rain on Saturday morning and Autumn was definitely here. Despite the lack of a cutting garden, the long late summer blessed me with lots of choice but the fierce rain bashed the roses I had wanted to use, so decided on some unruly triffid like Helianthus and although the rain had also bashed the Helinathus petals and they look a little windswept, the remaining seed heads were a jolly addition.


Gardeners gift Helianthus, cultivar unknown

They came along in pots of Zebra Grass from a Horticultural college plant sale and now unleashed into a border reach almost 8ft tall. I had briefly thought I had Jerusalem Artickokes, then read about Helianthus giganteus growing to 4m tall. Cultivar unknown and beware gardeners gifts but in the meantime I am enjoying them.

My youngest daughter was home for the weekend, she is a wonderful cook and writes a student food blog Lottie’s Little Kitchen Her visit this weekend to make the 3 generation Christmas puddings with my mum who is another wonderful cook. My talents lie elsewhere, but they allow me to stir the mix. Lottie brought her Kilner jars home to sterilise in the dishwasher too; students do not have such luxuries and she has lots of pickles planned.

The Iris Sibirica tough seed heads are left over winter, I love the frosted seed heads almost as much as the late Spring flowers.

Iris Sibirica in May

Iris Sibirica, from my garden in May

The last plant in my vase is from my Vegetable garden, the Chard, sown earlier this year is running to seed and waste not want not, I have added a little today.

Please take a look at other vases encouraged by Cathy at Rambling in My Garden or join in, its good fun. I picked my flowers with an umbrella early this morning before todays rain does any more damage and now dried off they bring a little sunshine indoors.

In a Vase on Monday – simple!


I am joining in with Cathy’s weekly vase challenge to fill a vase from my own garden, Ok, its a jug, not a vase but its my first one, please be kind. I haven’t got a cutting garden as this year I filled the space for flowers in my veg garden with potatoes and spinach. And this isn’t easy, my goodness. But it was absorbing and really enjoyable.

Most of the ‘White Pearl’ Sweet Peas have now run to seed, cut back early on they will re – shoot and re – flower, this late in the season and its just tactile seed pods, the flowers for this vase were the very last left to pick. The Cornus will really come into its own once the leaves drop and we are left with the joyous bright red stems.

'White Pearl' Seed Pods

‘White Pearl’ Seed Pods

When we moved to this house 14 years ago with two young children, a bigger garden and an even bigger mortgage my husband gave me two packets of National Trust seed, a packet of Sweet Peas, Lathyrus latifolius ‘White Pearl’ and a packet of Gaura lindheimeri ‘The Bride’. The dependable Sweet peas have flowered profusely every year since then, the Gaura have been resown as although short-lived are a favourite. ‘White Pearl’ Sweet Peas are scentless and unruly, need a lot of tying in but they remind me of our first year here.

Perennial Sweet Pea Lathyrus latifolius 'White Pearl'

Perennial Sweet Pea Lathyrus latifolius ‘White Pearl’

The Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima is flowering and without enough confidence to experiment, I have just put the two together in the Portmeirion custard jug.

Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'

Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’

My grateful thanks to Cathy for hosting and encouraging this meme, lots of other more accomplished folk join in, please take a look!